Guide for Team Fortress 2 – General Engineer Mann vs. Machine Guide
Engineer is basically always useful in any Mann vs. Machine mission because of his buildings. Every good MvM team should have an Engineer who knows what he’s doing. His Sentry can put out huge amounts of consistent damage to the robot horde and guard the bomb from them. The Dispenser provides health and more importantly, ammunition to your teammates without having to rely on pickups or canteens. It also acts as a source of metal for yourself and other Engineers. The Teleporter saves your teammates precious time getting to the front line. If you have the Two-Way Teleporter upgrade, it is also a convenience for getting to the Upgrade Station faster, and can potentially help stop the bomb if it slips by your team’s lines.
I want to credit the Official TF2 Wiki for a lot of information on Engineer and Mann vs. Machine mechanics they provide. Without it, I couldn’t have made this guide.
First, let’s talk about Engineer’s primary weapons. The Rescue Ranger is the recommended choice and the one I use most of the time. Because of his low damage output (excluding the Sentry) and health, lack of AOE attacks, risk of being hit by his own Sentry as it shoots at robots, and the constant need to maintain his buildings, the Engineer usually shouldn’t fight the robots directly. The Rescue Ranger lets you remotely repair damaged buildings by shooting them, or teleport them to you with the secondary fire (MOUSE2) button at the cost of 100 metal. This remote repair ability is very useful as it lets you repair buildings without having to stray far from your current position, or to heal your Sentry as it comes under fire, when being near it would be dangerous. The rescue feature is also very useful for saving buildings on the brink of destruction, quick re-positioning, or saving Sentries from Sentry Busters when they reach them. The Ranger’s shots cannot upgrade buildings, refill Sentry ammo, or remove Sappers. Like with your Wrench, it takes Metal to repair your buildings with the Ranger, obviously. When picking up a building while the Rescue Ranger is your primary (be it normally or with the Ranger’s secondary fire), the Engineer is marked for death while hauling and for a few seconds after putting the building back down, taking normal damage as mini-crits (1.33x damage). Crit Resistance upgrades can help mitigate this. The other big downside of the Ranger is that it is pretty weak as an actual weapon, with a smaller clip and ammo reserve, and the shots only dealing up to 60 damage at point-blank (a Shotgun meatshot does around 90) and much less at long ranges. The only time this weakness significantly matters is when fending off Spies or when you are caught without your Sentry nearby. The only other primary I sometimes use is the Widowmaker for Tank waves, especially when there are multiple Tanks. Because it has no “clip”, and because shooting Tanks gives back metal, it can be fired nonstop against them. It also gets a small (10%) damage bonus if you are shooting the same target as the Sentry. As a shotgun, it works best if you are attacking the Tank point-blank; just be careful not to get hit by your own Sentry if it’s also attacking the Tank. Don’t let you metal go below 30 or you’ll be unable to use it. The only other primary worth mentioning is the Frontier Justice. It’s similar to the Shotgun, but with half the clip size, inability to randomly crit, and its unique “revenge crits” mechanic. Each time your Sentry gets a kill, your get two stored guaranteed critical hits with the Frontier Justice, and for each Sentry assist, you get one. It can hold up to 35 revenge crits at a time. Despite its short range and small clip size, the Frontier Justice gives you a better option for defending yourself from robots independently from your Sentry. However, the crits only become available when your Sentry is destroyed, either by the robots or yourself via the Destruction PDA. If you want to blow up your own Sentry to get the revenge crits, buy Upgrade Buildings canteens so you can immediately replace it, or destroy it between waves. Also, all revenge crits are lost when the Engineer dies, which can happen easily if you don’t have the proper resistance upgrades and/or aren’t heavily overhealed. You also don’t get the revenge crits if you are dead at the time the Sentry is destroyed. The Pomson 6000 kind of sucks, though it is worth mentioning it can slightly drain Medic bots’ ÜberCharge, while the Panic Attack is like the stock Shotgun with slightly stronger meatshots but worse bullet spread.
Next, let’s talk about secondary weapons, or rather, secondary weapon, as there is really only one in MvM worth using in just about every situation: the Wrangler. The Pistol is too weak, the Short Circuit costs a lot of metal to use and can’t always guarantee protection, and neither is worth the opportunity cost of foregoing the Wrangler. I’ve never actually used the Short Circuit in MvM, but I’ll try to discuss it here in case anyone is interested in trying it. Like the Widowmaker, it uses metal as ammo, with the primary fire costing 5 metal per shot and acting similarly to Pistol bullets. The secondary fire shoots a ball of light that destroys enemy projectiles it hits, and costs 65 metal per shot. This can be quite useful and is most of the reason to use the Short Circuit, but the high cost can chew through your precious metal reserves; to use it often, you’d have to get a lot of metal capacity upgrades and/or camp your Dispenser. Also, note that you can’t pick up buildings with the Short Circuit out; switch to your primary or melee first.
Now, back to the Wrangler, which is my recommended weapon.The Wrangler lets you take manual control of your Sentry; while you are doing so, the Sentry gains a doubled rate of bullet fire, increased missile launch rate, and a shield that reduces its damage taken by 2/3rds, effectively tripling its health. With maxed out Building Health upgrades and the shield, a level 3 Sentry essentially has almost 2,600 HP. The shield lets it survive onslaughts it normally wouldn’t. However, it will not protect a Sentry from a Sentry Buster’s explosion. The manual targeting lets you put out more damage and keeps the Sentry focused on important targets, such as bomb carriers, giants, Medics, and Tanks. When not wrangled, the Sentry’s AI normally targets whichever enemy is closest to it. The Wrangler also makes the Sentry’s aim infinite, letting you attack targets beyond the Sentry’s normal line-of sight. If the wrangled Sentry is level 3, secondary fire shoots rocket barrages. The Wrangler can be used to “Sentry jump” by aiming rockets at your feet and crouch jumping as they hit, similar to Soldier’s rocket jumps. It’s fun to do while killing time between waves, but deals heavy self-damage and has next-to-no practical use in MvM, apart from reaching a higher place quicker. Though the Wrangler gives minor aim assist, you might want to try leading targets slightly when firing rockets at them, especially from a distance. The Wrangler can also be used to stop the Sentry from wasting ammo on things it really shouldn’t be attacking, such as Ubered robots and approaching Sentry Busters that won’t be stopped in time. When the Engineer switches away from the Wrangler or dies while using it, the Sentry becomes inactive for 3 seconds, though the shield stays up during that time. The shield also reduces repairs to the Sentry’s health and ammunition by 66%. However, as hauled buildings are redeployed instantly in MvM, simply picking up the Sentry and immediately putting it back down bypasses this drawback. Do note that if you have the Rescue Ranger, doing this will mark you for death for a few seconds. The Wrangler can be obtained by anyone, including F2Ps, by earning 17 Engineer achievements outside of MvM.
For your melee of choice, the default Wrench is your best option. Never, ever use the Gunslinger in MvM, which replaces your normal Sentry with a Mini-Sentry. The Mini has far less health and firepower than an ordinary Sentry, and is simply not worth using in this mode. If you’re worried about replacing a Sentry that gets destroyed, buy Upgrade Building canteens. The Eureka Effect is also not worth using; if you want to return to the Upgrade Station quickly, use a kill console command, suicide with the Wrangler, or buy the Two-Way Teleporter upgrade. I don’t like using the Jag because of the reduced repair rate; Attack Rate upgrades on the Wrench and Upgrade Building canteens have the same kind of benefit and more. The Southern Hospitality is functionally identical to the Wrench with regards to working on buildings. It can help somewhat with dealing with Spies, but Spy-bots are pretty easy to identify due to their behavior, and the bleed damage is not enough to turn one melee hit into an OHKO. If there are no Pyro bots in a wave (in which case, the SH is risky to use), the choice between the Southern Hospitality and Wrench largely comes down to personal preference. Resist the temptation to chase robots down just to hit them with it to inflict bleed.
Now, let’s talk the very important business of what to get at Upgrade Stations. To access the Upgrade menu, walk up to one of the counters in spawn. As a quick protip, you can see other players’ upgrades by aiming your reticle on them and pressing F. Most of your credits should be spent on upgrades in the PDA section, relating to your buildings. The most important upgrade in my opinion is the 100% Building Health upgrade, which will add 216 HP to your level 3 buildings per point, giving them a maximum of 864 HP. Your buildings cannot dodge incoming robot fire, do not benefit from damage falloff, and you are fairly helpless without them, so keeping them alive is tantamount. However, at 400 credits per level, it is expensive. 100% Dispenser Range and Max Metal Capacity come next. Dispenser Range is cheap and at max investment extends the Dispenser’s range out to a few meters. Your teammates will appreciate it, and it lets the Dispenser service them in battle without being so directly in the line of fire. It synergizes especially well with a Heavy on your team, as it can allow him to fire at the robots nonstop. Try to have at least a point or two in Max Metal Capacity, as repairing a Sentry as it attacks robots and takes damage uses a lot of metal. Metal is also needed to remotely pick up buildings with the Rescue Ranger, fire the Widowmaker and Short Circuit, and replace buildings that get destroyed. This upgrade lets you maintain your Sentry longer or replace buildings without having to get metal from the Dispenser or ammo packs as often. Speaking of ammo packs, since they restore a proportional amount of ammunition and metal, upgrading the latter’s capacity will give you a larger amount when you pick them up. The upgrades discussed in this first paragraph, plus the Upgrade Buildings canteen, are the most important IMO. I’ll get to the canteen in a bit. Try to balance your credits between them.
10% Sentry Firing Speed is good because it increases the Sentry’s damage output, though it is costly and partially bugged in such a way that reduces its effectiveness. The first level works as intended, the second stacks only with the Wrangler, and the third does nothing. I believe this wonkiness is due to the tick-based nature of the upgrade. The first level is useful in all situations, while the second is good when you’re focusing things down with the Wrangler. Do not buy the third level. Two-Way Teleporters allows you and your teammates to take the Teleporter Exit to the Entrance near spawn. It’s mostly a courtesy/convenience feature for reaching the Upgrade Station faster between waves, but not always. If a bomb-carrying robot (often a giant Scout bot) slips past your team, this can let you or your teammates intercept it before it delivers the bomb. It also lets your team go and buy upgrades or refill canteens during a wave without having to die or suicide first, or waste a lot of time walking. Power classes particularly may want to go refill their canteens during a wave. It should always be bought for Caliginous Caper and Mech Mutilation due to the very long nature of their waves.
The Disposable Sentry Gun should be the lowest-priority building upgrade and should usually only be considered if you have all the other building upgrades and some other important ones I’ll discuss shortly. It allows you to build a Disposable Sentry Gun which looks the same as and functions almost identically to a Mini-Sentry Gun (100 HP, 8 base damage per bullet). At first glance, it looks very appealing to have a second Sentry, but it has a number of serious limitations that make it a poor upgrade. First, it’s expensive at 500 credits. The Disposable Sentry does not benefit from Building Health or Firing Speed upgrades, costs 130 metal to build instead of a Mini-Sentry’s 100, is not controllable with the Wrangler, and cannot be destroyed manually once built. Hitting a Disposable Sentry with your wrench has no effect; it will not increase its build speed, repair it, or refill its ammo. It deploys slower than a normal Mini Sentry, as the latter’s fast build speed is an attribute of the Gunslinger, not the Mini itself. Shooting it with the Rescue Ranger will not heal it, but it can still be remotely picked up like other buildings. Disposable Sentries explode upon running out of ammo. Unlike other buildings, the Upgrade Buildings canteen does not affect them. The limited lifespan due to the ammo limitation, low health, and inability to be serviced means that Disposable Sentries must be replaced often. As it is not manually controllable, it can potentially pop Uber Medics; that is, cause them to deploy their ÜberCharge after taking enough damage. Ideally, the Medics should be killed without this happening. Once it has been placed and finishes its building animation, the Disposable Sentry can be hauled and redeployed instantly like other buildings. Disposable Sentries are destroyed upon finishing a wave and will need to be built again before starting the next one. For non-PDA upgrades, the Upgrade Buildings canteen is invaluable and should be high priority; always try to have at least one.
The Upgrade Buildings canteen causes any buildings currently placed down to fully build and upgrade to level 3 almost instantly. It also fully heals them, but does not replenish Sentry ammunition or Dispenser metal. It lets you quickly save your buildings or replace lost ones—Engineer is both unhelpful and helpless when they’ve been destroyed. You don’t even have to be near the buildings to use it. This canteen can save you a lot of time and metal, and make the difference between holding your ground or not. The other canteens aren’t worth the opportunity cost of forgoing the Upgrade Buildings canteen—you can only have one type of canteen at a time—but I will skim over them anyway. The ÜberCharge canteen provides 5 seconds of invulnerability to the Engineer and his Sentry*, but not the other buildings. The Crit canteen doubles Sentry firing rate and crit boosts the Engineer for five seconds. The Ammo and Clip Refill also replenishes the Engineer’s metal, but like the Upgrade Buildings canteen, not Sentry ammo or Dispenser metal. Teleport to Spawn can be used to stop a giant Scout from delivering the bomb if it manages to slip past your team—just remember to take your Sentry with you. Unlike all other upgrades, canteens cannot be refunded. Wrench Attack Speed is also an important upgrade, letting you refill a Sentry’s health and ammo at a faster rate. It can even make the difference between whether or not a Sentry survives heavy fire. It also helps a lot for when you need to replace your buildings, but want to conserve your canteen(s), or don’t have any. If you’re using the Widomaker to attack a Tank, consider upgrading its Firing Speed, as it’s fairly cheap at 100 credits per point.
Resistances for the Engineer himself are also quite useful; you have low health and if you die, your buildings are vulnerable until you respawn or are revived by a Medic. Resistances should be lower priority than the essential building upgrades, and make sure to only get the ones relevant to the wave. In addition to protecting you from dangerous crit-boosted robots, the Crit Resistance upgrade also reduces the Marked for Death penalty while hauling builds with the Rescue Ranger equipped. Just keep in mind the robots never get random critical hits. You can refund upgrades between waves, but not during them. If you’ve invested in resistance upgrades that will not be relevant or as important for the upcoming wave, refund and invest those points elsewhere.
Etiquette with Other Engineers
If no one else is playing Engineer on your team, feel free to pick him. There should really only be one per team, but two is workable, while three or more is generally a bad idea. Remember that multiple Engineers (or any class really) stacks that class’s weakness in addition to strengths. If there is another Engineer, abide by good Engineer etiquette. Keep your Sentries in different spots. Having them apart means a single Sentry Buster won’t be able to destroy both, and it will be easier to tell which Buster is heading towards which Sentry when they arrive in pairs. It makes them less likely to get sapped at the same time, or both destroyed by a barrage of heavy fire, such as from a group of Soldiers, Demos, Heavies, or a giant. It increases the area covered Sentry fire, as well. Maintain and upgrade the other Engineer’s buildings as needed, especially while he’s dead or otherwise elsewhere. Refrain from taking metal from his Dispenser unless it’s to work on his buildings, or you’re out and have no other alternative sources. There are advantages and disadvantages to both putting your Dispensers together or keeping them apart. The healing and ammo replenishment stack, so your other teammates will probably appreciate it, but it makes them more likely to get destroyed at the same time. I would keep them apart most of the time, unless your team lacks a Medic. Consider putting one Dispenser in a safer spot for the Engineers, and another for everyone else.
Setup Time & Building Placement
If you are new to Mann vs. Machine, take some time to explore the maps solo before playing missions so you know their layout and the locations of health and ammo packs. Similar to how Medics should have priority for taking health packs, Engineers should have priority for ammo packs.
During setup and between waves, your buildings are built instantly at level 3 and cost no metal. Un-upgraded buildings will upgrade in a single wrench hit. Obviously, you should fully place, replace, repair, upgrade, or move your buildings as needed during this time. If you have the Frontier Justice equipped, destroy your Sentry and build a new one to get the revenge crits. If you have the Disposable Sentry, put down a new one.
Start off by buying your initial upgrades; Building Health, Upgrade Building canteens, Dispenser Range, and Max Metal Capacity should have the highest priority, roughly in that order. In some missions, you only start with $400, so I recommend splitting it between the canteens, Metal Capacity, and Dispenser Range. Put your Teleporter Entrance down outside of spawn where it can be easily seen and accessed from both doors, typically halfway between them. If there’s a second Engineer, consider having him put his outside one door and yours outside another. As you approach the main battle area near the robots’ spawn, put down your Teleporter Exit in an area that’s close to the frontlines but not so close that it immediately puts teammates in harm’s way or becomes too dangerous to use should the robots push up, and can be used to quickly intercept them should they do so. Make sure the exit is facing the right way so as to not annoy or disorient your teammates. If you have the Two-Way Teleporter upgrade, make sure the Entrance is facing a good direction as well. The robots rarely target Teleporters on purpose, but they can still be damaged by stray fire, sapped, or run over by giants. My preferred Exit locations are:
• Coal Town/Ghost Town—The rooftop of the central building; the one in the middle of the map. If planning on buying Two-Way Teleporters, on the ground near the building. Always do this for Ghost Town, since its mission is one big wave and your team will need the Teleporters to get upgrades during it.
• Decoy—Similar to Coal Town; on top of the central building (or near it on the ground with TWT) at the end of the initial choke.
• Big Rock—Outside the entrance to the cave, behind the mesh fence to protect them from being attacked by robots in the tunnel. This is the furthest back of my Teleporter Exits, but Big Rock is also the largest MvM map. A closer alternative is behind the large rock in the cave near the tunnel, with the small health and ammo packs behind it.
• Mannworks—Inside the the building overlooking the robots’ spawn.
• Mannhattan—Near the gap in the fence wall about a stone’s throw from gate B. This lets people reach the initial staging area and the gates, should one or both be captured, easily.
• Rottenburg—Either in the area next to the village side of the tunnel entrance, or on the building platform overlooking it. There’s somewhat less need for TWT on this map since there’s an Upgrade Station right near the battlefield (not accessible during waves), but it can still be helpful.
You’ll want to place your Sentry in a spot where it can start shooting the robots almost immediately after they jump down, but not so close that it shoots them before. The robots are invulnerable before they jump down onto the battlefield; the Sentry shooting them early merely wastes ammo and can aggro the robots to it. It’s a good idea to build in a spot with ammo and health packs nearby, as well as cover if your Sentry is heavily damaged and needs to be repaired in a safe spot. If the robots make progress with the bomb, move your Sentry back to cover it. Guarding the bomb with a Sentry allows your teammates to focus on the robots. A Disposable Sentry is also useful for this as well, but it is only strong enough by itself to finish off stragglers and not much else. If the team really gets pushed back, take the Dispenser with you as well. When playing on Mannhattan, move your buildings to a gate area if it gets captured, as it becomes the robots’ new spawn point. The Rescue Ranger is handy for this.
In general, put the Dispenser in a spot close to the front lines, where both you and your teammates can easily access it. Make sure it’s behind some sort of cover from the robots’ path, or it will take a lot of damage. This is one of the reasons the Dispenser Range upgrade is so important. Because of the threat of Sentry Busters, don’t put your Dispenser too close to your Sentry or in a spot the Busters will walk through when running to the Sentry. This is because a Buster can trample and destroy any Dispensers in its path (as can all giant robots), or blow up one next to a Sentry.
Lastly, please, PLEASE remember to hit F4 once all your preparations are complete. If you’re using a keyboard with an fn key like I am, you might have to hold fn and then press F4. People in Mann Up are especially touchy about this.
You don’t have to be like this unfortunate Engineer in the video.
Sentry Busters are one of the biggest threats to Engineers in MvM. The Sentry Buster is a giant Demoman robot with a naval mine for an upper body. They have 2500 HP and run at either 187% or 173% speed (The Wiki lists the former, but it might actually be the latter due to the speed limit set by the game which limits Super Scouts to that speed. For reference, Engineer’s default speed is 100% and Scout’s is 133%.), making them very fast and bulky. They spawn when a Sentry has done enough damage to the robots, and their spawn is announced by the Administrator and HUD. If there is no Engineer on the team (and thus no Sentry), they will not spawn at all. Upon entering the battlefield, the Buster will make a beeline for the Sentry it is targeting. If the Engineer is currently hauling his Sentry, it will target him instead. Unlike other robots, players cannot body-block them; the Buster will simply pass through them. As they are giant robots, Sentry Busters instantly destroy any Dispensers, Teleporters, or Disposable Sentries they run into. Once it reaches the Sentry (or the Engineer hauling it), it will crouch, start beeping and spinning, and explode after about four seconds. The blast radius is moderately large, and any buildings or players caught in the blast are destroyed or killed, respectively. The Wrangler and Building Health upgrades will not save the Sentry, and players will only survive by timely use of ÜberCharge, having Blast Resistance and a ton of overheal, or getting out of the way. The blast is also harmful to the other robots; normal-sized ones are destroyed, and giants take 600 damage. I’m not sure if it does anything to Tanks. After exploding, the Buster leaves a cloud of heavy smoke for a few seconds that obscures visibility. If the Sentry Buster loses all its health, it will stop where it is and explode. Occasionally, they simply vanish upon death without exploding, which is a bug. The killfeed will show this as a normal kill, instead of a “finish off”. If the Sentry is destroyed before the Buster reaches it, it will keep running to where the Sentry was, then explode, even if you’ve put a new Sentry down elsewhere.
While Sentry Busters might seem intimidating, they don’t have to be a big deal, provided you and your team know how to react to them. When a Buster appears, stay close to your Sentry and wait for it to approach. If the Sentry starts targeting it, consider picking it up or switching to the Wrangler to stop it from wasting ammunition. It’s best to haul the Sentry further back, so that it explodes away from your teammates and you aren’t as endangered by other robots. It cannot move once it starts the countdown, during which you should run away from it. Be mindful of your teammates’ positions so they don’t get blown up. Alternatively, the Sentry can be whisked to safety at the last moment with the Rescue Ranger, but make sure you have the 100 metal needed to do so, and a clear line of sight to the Sentry with your reticle that isn’t blocked by the Buster or anything else. Note that the pickup function with the Ranger sometimes fails to work where it should for reasons unknown. Running towards the robots with your Sentry in hopes of making the Buster blow them up is also dangerous and ill-advised. However, if not too dangerous, you can run towards the Buster with your Sentry to make it explode sooner. Saving your Sentry from a Buster becomes more complicated if there are other robots nearby, which can kill you beforehand or after you pick up the Sentry, especially if you have the Rescue Ranger and are Marked for Death. Pay attention to how the rest of the battle is going. Early on, it’s often best to simply let the Sentry Buster reach its target one way or another and escape as it counts down. Thus, it can be annoying when your teammates insist on focusing it down or continually holding it back with airblasts, and can become a problem when it takes their attention away from the other robots. Consider communicating this to you team beforehand.
Later on, as your team gets stronger through upgrades, it becomes a more viable strategy to simply try and destroy the Buster before it reaches the Sentry; just make sure other players and buildings aren’t around where it blows up. Mad Milk, Jarate, Rocket Specialist, and the Sapper will slow it down, and Scouts can mark it for death. Heavies can push it back with knockback rage if they have it. Pyros can use airblasts on it to buy time or keep it away from players or buildings after it starts the detonation sequence. The Buster has an invisible head hitbox around its top prong that Snipers and Amby Spies can shoot, but it cannot be backstabbed. You can help your teammates destroy it by shooting it with the Wrangler. Even if they don’t intend on destroying it, Sentry Busters are a good source of meter build for Pyros, Soldiers, and Heavies, and ÜberCharge for Ubersaw-wielding Medics. If the Buster runs out of health near your Dispenser, whisk it away with the Rescue Ranger to save it.
One Sentry Buster can spawn for each Sentry. They do not spawn against or deliberately target Disposable Sentry Guns, and cannot carry the bomb. If there are multiple Sentries doing work, multiple Busters will likely spawn simultaneously. This is one of the reasons why having multiple Engineers often isn’t a great idea, as they’re a bigger problem than just a single Buster, and it can be hard to tell which Buster is targeting which Sentry at first. If a Buster explodes without destroying its target, the robots will eventually send more. On some missions, they can be thrown at you constantly. If they’re proving to be a considerable nuisance, one last-ditch way to make them more tolerable is to simply let them destroy the Sentry in a safe spot, then rebuild it using an Upgrade Building canteen. This will keep them from spawning for a while longer.
Besides Sentry Busters, Spy bots are another unique threat to the Engineer. They will try to place Sappers on your buildings, disabling them and draining their health until they’re destroyed. They can also backstab you and your teammates for an instant kill; no resistance upgrades or overheal will save you. Spy bots’ spawning is announced by the Administrator, and they can spawn anywhere on the map, and where no one is looking. She also announces when all Spies in a sub-wave have been destroyed. They are already disguised when they spawn. As much of a nuisance as they can be, they can be dealt with minimal difficulty by an aware team, like Sentry Busters. They are in many ways less threatening than human Spies, as they are fairly easy to identify while disguised based on their behavior and movement patterns, and are less effective at trickstabbing. Additionally, Spy bots never use their guns unless they accidentally pick up the bomb, which they don’t intentionally go for. Some telltale signs of a “teammate” being a Spy are:
• Being disguised as you
• Robotic chuckling
• Bumping into you instead of passing through
• Not being targeted by the robots
• Being stunned by your own Spy’s Sapper, or after a gate is captured in Mannhattan
• They can sometimes be seen spawning/decloaking behind your lines, and in groups
• Appearing from a spot where there weren’t any teammates before, nor where you would expect them to be
• Not attacking; Spies drop their disguise whenever they attack, but not when they place Sappers
• Unusual movement; running backwards or sideways, or moving away from you while not turning away if you approach them directly
• Running towards a teammate from behind, or towards your buildings
Additionally, Spy bots only jump to try and get to a higher target and don’t switch weapons. You and your teammates can jump, attack, use voice commands, or switch weapons rapidly to quickly let each other know you aren’t a Spy. If you get close to a Spy bot, it will likely drop its disguise and start trying to stab and flank you, but will eventually cloak, retreat, re-disguise, and try again after taking damage. Spy bots sometimes do the Fencing taunt upon successfully killing a player. This makes them an easy target, but be sure not to get right in front of them or the taunt can kill you. Like human Spies, Spy bots are at their most dangerous when players have their attention on other enemies, so they should never be discounted as a threat. Watch your back, especially when attacking a Tank or removing a Sapper.
Pyros are good Spy-checkers, as their fire will ignite even cloaked or disguised Spies. Sappers can be removed in two wrench swings, or three with the Jag. Pyros can also remove them in one hit with Homewrecker or Maul, or two with the Neon Annihilator. No other class can deal with Sappers. The Rescue Ranger’s shots will not heal a sapped building, nor can it pick it up remotely or destroy Sappers. If you have a Pyro on your team, consider asking them to equip the Homewrecker on waves with Spies or at least periodically flame around your buildings if you’re really worried. The rate at which Sappers damage buildings does not scale with the 100% Building Health upgrade, so it gives you a larger window of time to save them. If you encounter Spy bots, quickly eliminate them before they cause any more trouble. Don’t let them flank you or you could get backstabbed. The Rescue Ranger is less effective at killing them than the Shotgun, Widowmaker, or Frontier Justice at close range, but it will still get the job done with decent aim. Two melee swings (three with the Jag) will also kill a Spy, but this is riskier as you can get backstabbed. The Sentry will not target disguised Spies, even if they just placed a Sapper, but you can use the Wrangler to attack them with it. Note that the Wrangler’s aim assist will not work on disguised Spies.
During waves, keep tabs on the bomb’s location at all times, as its delivery to the hatch results in a loss. The HUD will tell you the direction to its location relative to you, if it’s currently being carried, the bomb carrier’s buff level, and if it is currently held by a robot. Giant robots do not gain bomb carrier buffs (though the HUD suggests otherwise), but also aren’t slowed by carrying it either. If the robots make progress carrying the bomb up, consider moving your buildings to cover it. Your Sentry Gun’s AI has perfect aim, and is useful against groups of robots and giants alike. It will prioritize whichever target is closest to the Sentry. However, some robots in a large enough swarm, particularly Scouts, can survive and slip by it, so be aware. The Sentry’s perfect AI aim is one of your team’s best weapons against giant Scouts, which move very fast and can easily deliver the bomb; giants don’t lose speed when they have the bomb, unlike normal robots. Consider moving the Sentry to better block its path if you know one is coming.
Spend most of your time sticking close to your Sentry so you can replenish its ammo, which it will burn through quickly, and so it can protect you. It can also shield you from incoming fire to a degree by standing or crouching behind it, but watch out for the splash from explosive projectiles, especially from Demomen. In those cases, put some space between you and the Sentry, wrangle it for protection if needed, and be ready to use the Rescue Ranger to heal or snatch it away. Buildings are immune to crits and mini-crits, only taking normal damage from said attacks, so the Sentry is a good tool against crit-boosted robots. The Sentry itself cannot deal critical hits, but it can deal mini-crits against targets that are soaked in Jarate or Marked for Death. The Sentry will also deal mini-crit damage if the Engineer himself (not the Sentry) is within the radius of a friendly Buff Banner Soldier with the boost active, so keep this in mind if you have one on your team.
Your Wrangler is useful for focusing the Sentry on high priority or out-of-range targets, such as bomb carriers, Medics, giants, Tanks, Snipers, and Engineer bots’ own Sentries. However, for Uber Medics, consider holding your fire via Wrangler to stop it from popping their ÜberCharges, if you have a good Medic buster on your team—Snipers, stickybomb Demomen, Spies, and Gas Passer Pyros can all fall into this category. Note that Ubered robots (as well as Bonked Scouts) can still carry and deliver the bomb, so this makes them particularly dangerous. Against Ubered robots, the Wrangler can also be used to better tank their attacks and to stop the Sentry from wasting ammo, and to target the other robots while waiting for the ÜberCharge to wear off. The Sentry’s knockback, however, can be a decent tool for slowing the advance of invincible robots, particularly Bonk Scouts. Apart from Uber Medics that have not yet activated their charge, always prioritize Medics bots. This is especially true of the giant Medics, as their massive healing rate makes it impossible to kill their patient until they are dealt with first. The Wrangler allows you to use to the Sentry to kill Snipers outside of its normal range. This is important, as the Snipers will try to pick off players and buildings from a distance. Similar to Spy bots, Sniper bots are dangerous and annoying if not dealt with quickly, and can easily get surprise kills, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly. The blue laser emitted by a Sniper bot gives away its position.
Even with the potent power of the Widowmaker or Frontier Justice, Engineer is typically a poor frontline fighter. He lacks splash damage, has low health, and ideally is devoting most of his credits towards his buildings, not himself and his weapons. Additionally, you can be harmed by your own Sentry (hampering your ability to fight directly or grab credits), so avoid standing in front of it or between it and any robots. Leave credit collecting to your teammates unless they’re dead or neglecting it and you have no other choice. You can use the Wrangler to avoid being hit by your Sentry if you need to run in front of it. However, if you see nearby credits that can be easily grabbed and the Scout hasn’t noticed them, grab them so they aren’t missed. On Tank waves (especially ones with multiple Tanks), equipping the Widowmaker is a good idea, even if you normally use the Rescue Ranger. Just remember that without the latter, you can’t remotely save your Sentries from Sentry Busters or other robots. Even if you don’t have its firing speed upgraded, it’s still useful because you can use the Tank to freely get all your metal back. Both an upgraded Widowmaker and the Wrangler are viable ways to target the Tank. If the Tank needs to be focused down, you can follow it with the Widowmaker, and/or bring your Sentry with you if needed. To deal the most damage with the Widowmaker (or any shotgun), get right up to the Tank, but be mindful of other robots and your Sentry’s fire, if it too is attacking the Tank.
You can save buildings about to be destroyed (not from Sentry Busters) with the Upgrade Buildings canteen; you don’t have to wait until they’re actually destroyed to use it. If your buildings are trapped behind robot lines and you need to re-position, use the Rescue Ranger or consider allowing them to be destroyed or destroy them yourself, then use the canteen to help make a new nest. Having at least one point in Metal Capacity is very helpful for this, as it gives you enough metal to place both a new Sentry and Dispenser down immediately. If your position is under heavy pressure and/or no one is around to help, you can put the Dispenser near you and your Sentry for a steady supply of health and metal, but be ready to move at least one of them if a Sentry Buster spawns. If you’re ever in a situation where you are under attack while hauling your Sentry and are likely to die, place it down before the robots kill you. If you die while hauling a building, the building dies with you. This way, the Sentry will survive to put in more work, at least for a while longer.
Common Engineer Mistakes
If you play Mann vs. Machine to any significant degree, chances are you’ve encounters Engineers who basically make poor choices and don’t play very well, or as well as they could. While any MvM team will likely suffer with a bad player because of its small size, it’s particularly easy to tell (and aggravating) when your Engineer isn’t very good because of how critical the class is to team support in this mode (akin to Medics not healing or Scouts not picking up money); he gives ammo and limited healing via Dispenser, saves a ton of time with Teleporters, and defends the front lines with his Sentry. No other class can replicate those first two traits, and the Sentry is arguably the best tool to stop stragglers from slipping by with the bomb. These troublesome Engies are usually newer, inexperienced, and or free-to-play (F2P) players who don’t have a good understanding of the mode, the class, and/or the game as a whole. While I’m against toxicity towards new or F2P players, I am also a firm believer that inexperienced players have no business playing Mann Up mode or higher difficulty missions without understanding both the game and the mode work, and without ample experience in Boot Camp first. You get better by practicing and consulting guides, such as this one. You can typically identify these sub-par Engies from either having “noob” cosmetics (Gibusvision, Mercenary, Party Hat, Mann Co. Cap) or none at all. Bad building placement is a whole category, so I split it up into multiple bullets at the beginning of the list. I should also mention that not all bad choices are created equal; while some are merely a bit suboptimal (such as Dispenser placement), others are just plain unjustifiable (using the Gunslinger). Here are some common bad things they do:
• Building at the hatch right outside spawn, which is one of the worst things to do. It might seem like a good idea to an inexperienced player—after all, the bomb needs to be stopped from being dropped in the hatch, so why not put the Sentry right at the hatch area, right? Well, no. The only time this should be done is if the robots actually get the bomb in or close to the hatch area. The best way to contain the robots is right where they spawn; the less they can advance the bomb, the better. Everyone else is going to be up near the robots’ entrance, while the Engie basically sits at spawn with his buildings, not contributing anything unless the robots make it all the way up with the bomb, at which point, the team can easily get overwhelmed and lose anyway. A Sentry probably won’t stop a healthy giant or swarm from delivering the bomb at that point. It’s not quite as useless as the “Spawnguard” Engies in normal matchmaking (especially on offense) but it comes close.
• Building too far back, while not as bad as building right at spawn, is bad for similar reasons.
• Sentry Guns too close to the cliff the robots spawn from, thus attacking them before they jump down and become vulnerable. This wastes ammo and can endanger the Sentry and Engineer due to its proximity to the robots.
• Selfish Dispenser placement, and/or Dispenser placement too close to the Sentry. Your teammates will burn through ammo fighting the robots. Without the Dispenser nearby, they’re forced to stop fighting and run to (and possibly compete over) ammo packs or to wherever you put the Dispenser. Putting it too close to the Sentry makes it vulnerable to Sentry Busters, as it can get run over or blown up. It can also easily be lost as well if the Sentry’s position is overrun. However, remember it shouldn’t be so far away it’s a hassle for you to get to.
• Putting their Sentry next to another Engineer’s Sentry or Dispenser. Just like normal game modes, sticking two Sentries side-by-side is almost always a bad idea. Putting the Sentries in different spots is better, as it offers more coverage to prevent robots from slipping by. Putting them together makes them more likely to get destroyed at the same time, especially by Sentry Busters; it forces the other Engineer to deal with Busters heading for your Sentry as well as their own. Putting it next to their Dispenser also endangers the latter, and will probably have you end up mooching metal from it too.
• Teleporter Exits that are too far back (making them not very helpful) or too far forward (potentially dangerous to take, more likely to get destroyed, and not as helpful if the bomb makes it too far up).
• Not building Teleporters at all.
• Not building/replacing buildings during setup or between waves.
• Playing Engineer when there’s already an Engineer on the team. Like all other classes, Engie has his weaknesses and stacking him will cause problems for your teams. As a brief but important recap/summary, here are his main weaknesses in MvM:
–He’s one the worst money grabbers; he has low health, risks self-damage from the Sentry, and shouldn’t stray from his buildings for too long (also limiting his overall mobility). Without anyone to get the money, subsequent waves become harder than they’d otherwise be.
–The Sentry Busters he attracts can distract or even kill unaware teammates.
–He’s helpless (both offensively and defensively) while his buildings are destroyed until he can rebuild them.
–He’s not very mobile. While he can haul his buildings, has the Rescue Ranger’s secondary fire, and runs faster than most of the power classes, having to stay near his buildings limits how effectively he can chase down robots or Tanks. Apart from killing stragglers, he usually must take his Sentry with him to be effective at interception.
• Playing too aggressively; i.e., trying to Battle Engie. You’ll usually see these guys with the Widowmaker, Frontier Justice, or if noobish enough, stock Shotgun. Again, Engineer is not that good for direct combat in this mode for the reasons discussed above. If you really don’t want to be passive, you can just use the Wrangler more often or let someone else be Engineer.
• Not knowing how to deal with Sentry Busters. This includes continuously running away from them, not trying to save the Sentry from them, or not seeing them coming until it’s too late, often getting blown up with their Sentry. Putting a Dispenser too close to the Sentry or in a path a Buster will obviously try to take (such as a staircase) also counts as part of this category.
• Poor choice of weapons. The worst and most obvious is using the Gunslinger, but the Pomson and especially Eureka Effect are bad, thought the Pomson can at least potentially help with Uber Medics. The Eureka Effect’s pros aren’t worth its cons. The warp ability can easily be substituted by Two-Way Teleporter, a kill bind, or suicide via Wrangler. Also, the Teleporter is unlikely to get destroyed if positioned correctly and thus will rarely need to be replaced during a wave. The Eureka Effect can’t effectively substitute for a Teleport to Spawn canteen to stop a bomb carrier; you can’t use its teleport ability while hauling your Sentry. The Pistol and Short Circuit are sorely outclassed by the Wrangler. Everything else out of Engineer’s small weapon pool is viable, though the Rescue Ranger/Wrangler/Wrench set is arguably the best.
• Poor choice of upgrades. The most common one I see is getting the Disposable Sentry very early on, and I’ve already discussed why it’s not a very good upgrade. However, lots of players seem to think it is, which is understandable; on paper, a second Sentry (even a Mini) sounds really cool. It’s probably the most overrated upgrade in the entire game. Another bad one is investing in weapon attributes, which are far less important than building attributes or even damage resistances.
• Not replacing buildings after they get destroyed, or taking too long to do so. Upgrade Buildings canteens and +50% Max Metal Capacity make this much easier to do.
• Any team in MvM benefits from having a competent Engineer. His Sentry is great for defense against the robots, and his Dispenser and Teleporters provide important team support exclusive to the class.
• The Rescue Ranger is generally the best primary weapon to use, thanks to its ability to remotely repair or grab buildings at the cost of metal. However, it is weaker than the other shotguns at close range and causes the Engineer to be Marked for Death whenever he picks up a building, either normally or remotely. The Widowmaker uses metal as ammo and is great against Tanks because it can be fired continuously against them, refilling your metal in the process. The Frontier Justice gives you revenge crits when your Sentry is destroyed (whether by you or the robots) based on how many kills and assists it got. However, remember that you lose them if you die, and don’t get them at all if the Sentry is destroyed while you are dead. The Shotgun, Pomson 6000, and Panic Attack will not be as useful as the other three.
• The Wrangler should always be your secondary of choice in MvM. It gives you manual control of the Sentry with minor aim assist, increases its firing rate, and encases it in a shield that reduces damage it takes by about two-thirds. It is useful in multiple situations, including focusing important targets for more damage, not triggering Medic bots’ Ubercharges, avoiding getting shot by your own Sentry, and hitting targets out of its normal range. There is a cooldown on Sentry operation after switching away from the Wrangler, but it can be bypassed by picking it up and immediately setting it back down. The Pistol and Short Circuit simply don’t compare in usefulness.
• The stock Wrench is the best melee option, but the Southern Hospitality and Jag are usable as well. Don’t use the former on Pyro-heavy waves because of the fire weakness it gives Engineer. The latter is inferior at repairs, and upgrades exist to increase melee swing speed and instantly replace buildings, making it generally less effective than the Wrench. The Eureka Effect’s pros are not worth its cons, and the Gunslinger is a terrible option due to the weakness of the Combat Mini-Sentry compared to a normal Sentry. Avoid using either of these weapons.
• Building Health, Dispenser Range, Max Metal Capacity, and Upgrade Building Canteens are the most important upgrades to have. Dispenser Range is very helpful for your teammates, and the others help you keep your buildings up. After that come Sentry Firing Speed, relevant resistances for the Engineer, and melee Attack Speed. Sentry Firing Speed is bugged; the second level only affects the Sentry while it’s wrangled, and the third level has no effect, so only get 1-2 points in it. Two-Way Teleporters is mostly a convenience for you and your team, but it has practical use in stopping the bomb, especially when giant Scout bots are involved, and buying upgrades during a wave. The Disposable Sentry is a lousy, overrated upgrade for its high cost and should be avoided unless you have enough leftover credits.
• In most situations, one Engineer is all you’ll want on a team, but two is workable if both know what they’re doing. Note that this stacks Engineer’s limitations. More than two Engineers is a generally a bad idea. If there’s another Engineer, keep your buildings away from his to protect them from Sentry Busters and to get better coverage. You can help him build, maintain, and upgrade his buildings, especially when he’s not around. Don’t take metal from his Dispenser unless you’re desperate.
• Your buildings build instantly and at level 3 during setup and between waves. Take this time to build, rebuild, or reposition them as needed. If using the Frontier Justice, you can destroy and rebuild your Sentry to get the revenge crits. Put your Teleporter Entrance right outside spawn. The Exit’s placement depends on the map and whether or not you have Two-Way Teleporters, but in general it should be somewhat close to the robots’ spawn area, but far back enough to allow safe usage and interception of the bomb. Vantage points such as rooftops are a good choice. The Dispenser should be placed in a spot where both you and your teammates can easily access it, but preferably behind some cover and out of the path of Sentry Busters. Putting it close to your Sentry makes it vulnerable to them. Your Sentry should be in a spot where it can shoot the robots right after they jump onto the field, but not before. Vantage points and spots near cover and health/ammo packs work well. If the bomb makes it a fair distance up, move your Sentry to cover it.
• Sentry Busters spawn after your Sentry does enough damage to the robots. One Sentry Buster per Engineer can spawn at a time. These fast, giant robots will run towards your Sentry, then crouch down and explode. The blast will kill the Sentry and any players if they are caught in it. The blast also destroys normal-sized robots and damages giants, but don’t risk your life trying to make it explode near them intentionally. If you are currently hauling your Sentry, the Buster will chase you down instead. As they are giant robots, Sentry Busters trample any Dispensers, Teleporters, or Disposable Sentries in their path. You can carry your Sentry to safety as the Buster reaches you and starts its countdown, or whisk the Sentry away with the Rescue Ranger. Lure the Buster to a safe spot back, away from your teammates and Dispenser, and let it explode there. Watch out for the other robots as you do this. If your team is strong enough and/or not occupied with other robots at the time, you can simply opt to destroy the Buster before it even reaches the Sentry. Slowing it or airblasting it makes this easier.
• Spy robots can sap your buildings, which disables them and drains their health. They have low HP, only attack with melee, and are fairly easy to identify from their behavior, but they have the ability to spawn anywhere, wield disguises, turn invisible, and backstab players for a one-hit kill. Keep your eye out for them when the Administrator announces them. They are at their most dangerous when players have their attention on other robots and don’t notice them coming. Sappers can be removed by your wrench or a Pyro’s Homewrecker or Neon Annihilator, but not by the Rescue Ranger. Pyros can also easily Spy-check with their flames.
• You should spend most of your time sticking near your Sentry to maintain it and for the protection it offers. Ducking behind it will protect you from bullets and arrows, but the splash from explosives may force you to back away and use the Rescue Ranger to heal it. You are vulnerable to your own Sentry’s attacks, so either avoid getting in front of it, or if you have to, use the Wrangler to control its fire. You can let the Sentry’s aimbot AI do most of the shooting, but use the Wrangler if the Sentry’s going to take heavy fire or when dealing with giants, Tanks, or other big targets. If you have a competent Uber Medic-buster on your team (Sniper, stickybomb Demoman, Gas Passer Pyro, or Spy), use the Wrangler to hold its fire or attack other robots until the Medics are killed or use up their charge. Your Sentry is one of your team’s best defenses against giant Scouts, which carry the bomb extremely fast. When one spawns, ensure your Sentry in its path and let the AI do the shooting—the Scout’s agility will make it tricky to hit with the Wrangler. Two-Way Teleporters can also be used to intercept it before it delivers the bomb. If your Sentry or Dispenser is in imminent danger of getting destroyed, you can teleport it to you with the Rescue Ranger, or use an Upgrade Buildings canteen to fully heal it. The canteen can also be used to instantly upgrade new buildings if the old ones get destroyed, saving precious time and metal. Your Sentry is also good for guarding the bomb; robots cannot escape its notice like with players.
This is all that we can say about Team Fortress 2 – General Engineer Mann vs. Machine Guide for now. I hope this post helped you. If there is anything that we should add, please let us know via comment below. See you soon!
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